As the year nears to a close, the trend for additive manufacturing (AM) systems seems to be size. Bigger isn’t always better, but some projects call for a more robust build envelope. Rapid Ready has already covered such behemoths as the Objet1000 and Concept Laser’s X line 1000R, and today we have a new contender.
Hailing from Germany, SLM Solutions offers manufacturing services such as vacuum casting, investment casting and rapid prototyping via its selective laser melting (the SLM in SLM Solutions) 3D printers. Officially dubbed powder bed fusion by the ASTM, the SLM process uses a powder bed of metal material and a high-powered laser to build 3D objects. Continue reading
In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing, I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.
Let’s have a shotgun start for today’s Roundup. Firearms manufacturer, Remington, has acquired TAPCO, manufacturer of firearms accessories and replacement parts. TAPCO has been in business for more than 25 years, so why has Remington just purchased the company? The answer is 3D printing. Continue reading
Everyone likes to win awards, and in this case it’s nice to see additive manufacturing starting to get some industry props. Each year, Aviation Week hands out awards in the aerospace and defense industries. This year the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT has won the 2012 Innovation Challenge in the category of Power and Propulsion.
The award was the result of the Fraunhofer Institute’s work on bladed disks (blisks) that form the core of turbines. Using selective laser melting (SLM), the Institute was able to create a 3D printed blisk. Use of AM technology has reduced material consumption for blisks by around 60% and decreased the manufacturing time by around 30%.
While not quite on the level of The Six Million Dollar Man, this particular rebuilding of the human body is still pretty cool. Last June, doctors at Hasselt University’s Biomedical Research Institute in Belgium, along with assistance from their fellows the Netherlands, were able to successfully implant a 3D printed titanium jawbone into an 83-year-old woman.
A victim of osteomyelitis (chronic bone infection), doctors believed traditional methods might be to invasive for the advanced age of their patient, so they went the high-tech route instead. The jawbone was manufactured by LayerWise, a Belgian company, to specs provided by the doctors. The complex design is articulated and includes features such as passages for veins which are designed to help incorporate the prosthetic into the patient’s body.